Char­lie de­liv­ers his last bowl

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Plim­mer­ton Bowl­ing Club lost one of its char­ac­ters last week.

Char­lie Hughes – green­keeper, match con­vener, past pres­i­dent, life mem­ber – re­luc­tantly left for Christchurch on Satur­day to be cared for by his grand­daugh­ter. He has can­cer and the out­look is not good.

Last Wed­nes­day, 86-year-old Hughes had an emo­tional send-off at the club. Friends and the bowl- ing fra­ter­nity gath­ered to raise their glasses to the Plim­mer­ton stal­wart.

‘‘It was a won­der­ful night, very hum­bling,’’ Hughes said.

He re­called pitch­ing up to the club in Grays Rd in 1965.

‘‘A friend per­suaded me to join and it’s been a huge part of my life. I’ve en­joyed the ca­ma­raderie and spirit of com­pe­ti­tion. If I take some­thing on, I like to be prop­erly part of it and that’s what I’ve done at Plim­mer­ton.’’

Eight years as green­keeper had its ups and downs.

‘‘The green needs con­stant at­ten­tion. It can be frus­trat­ing some­times be­cause out of 60 mem­bers, 58 will have an opin­ion [about the green], good or not.’’

Hughes won 18 club ti­tles. One year he won three of the four tro­phies avail­able at the club champs.

His proud­est mo­ment was in 2011, when he won the Grant’s Whisky Cor­ner to Cor­ner na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Auck­land. Along with $3000, he won four bot­tles of the spon­sor’s prod­uct.

He put it on the bar when he ar­rived home, and a good night was had by all.

Hughes said say­ing good­bye to long friend­ships, tough com­pe­ti­tion on the greens and be­ing ac­tive hurt.

‘‘It’s hard to just stop. I love the chal­lenge of look­ing af­ter the green and go­ing out to play.’’

David Wright was Hughes’ pairs part­ner for 25 years.

‘‘Char­lie and I were like wine that ma­tured with age – I had a lot of laughs with him,’’ Wright said. ‘‘There were some tears last week for a loyal club mem­ber and a bloody good fella.’’

Club mem­ber Dudley Enoka said six peo­ple might be needed to fill Hughes’ du­ties.

Hughes’ ashes will one day be spread in the club gar­den and a me­mo­rial plaque is planned.


Char­lie Hughes ded­i­cated much of his life to the Plim­mer­ton Bowl­ing Club.

From left, Sea­mus Curtin, Char­lie Hughes and Con Curtin at Hughes’ farewell last week.

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